Over at the Atlantic Wire, Conor Friedersdorf makes a point that's becoming glaringly obvious here in Washington: the left should be more enthusiastic about the idea of states' rights.

In the past, of course, there have been plenty of reasons for the left to support the idea of a strong federal government that can infringe on states' rights when necessary. (Friedersdorf cites the abolition of slavery as the ur-example.) But at the moment, the states'-rights-based progress on marijuana law reform in Washington and Colorado, with its potential to significantly benefit the lives of minorities who are disproportionately harmed by "Drug War" enforcement, has Friedersdorf saying:

It's enough to make you wonder whether nowadays states' rights might not do more good than not to Americans of every race.

I would add the marriage equality push to this discussion. The federal government may yet intervene in a positive way, via the upcoming Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage. But up to this point marriage equality has been moved forward most effectively using the logic of states' rights in a slow, methodical, state-by-state push that's now added Washington to its list of successes.

These things aren't mutually exclusive—the tension between states' rights and federal supremacy benefits everyone, left and right, eventually. But for those lefties who are reflexively opposed to taking advantage of states' rights arguments, Friedersdorf's point is a good one. If you need proof, just look at Washington State.